Germany: Gorch Fock training ship returns to service | News | DW

The Gorch Fock, a three-masted sailing ship used by the German navy for training cadets, is being handed over to naval officials in the northern city of Wilhelmshaven on Thursday after almost six years of repairs.

The refitting of the ship caused some controversy after the costs rose from the original calculate of €10 million ($11.6 million) to €135 million.

Delays and financial irregularities at the first shipyard commissioned with the repairs additional to the furor, which saw the Defense Ministry come under important fire.

The first shipyard to be charged with the refitting work, Elsflether in Bremerhaven, went bankrupt in February 2019. The work was completed over the past two years by the Lürssen shipyard in the northern port city of Bremen.

The repairs included the almost complete substitute of the hull plating, the renewal of decks and the refurbishment of the engine.

The ship’s albatross figurehead was designed by a former World War II U-boat commander

The Gorch Fock’s 60 years of service

The Gorch Fock, which entered service as a training ship in 1959, is named in honor of the German author Johann Kinau, who wrote under the nom de plume of “Gorch Fock.” Kinau was killed in the World War I battle of Jutland/Skagerrak in 1916.

The ship has been at the center of other controversies in the past, notably in 2010 when a 25-year-old officer candidate fell to her death from the rigging in the Brazilian port of Salvador da Bahia. That incident caused a rebellion among trainees that ultimately led to the dismissal of the ship’s captain.

at the minimum five other sailors have lost their lives in accidents on the ship.

The return of the ship to service will be officially famous on Monday in its home port of Kiel. After that, the ship’s main crew will aim in the Baltic Sea in October before the first cadets are taken on again in January in the Canary Islands.

tj/rt (AFP, dpa) 

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